Emirates Airlines is one of the most, if not the most, luxurious airliners in the world. The beautiful aircrafts provide cocktail bars, humongous seats, and the world’s only in-flight shower spa! It is extravagance at its finest, and definitely the way to fly long distances if you have to. This affluent airline also boasts the record for the most passengers on a regularly-scheduled passenger flight with its shiny new 615-seat A380 jet, the latest addition to its fancy fleet.
So it makes sense that the best of the best should also be operated by the best of the best. The customers who fork over the money to fly in such style are cared for and served by flight attendants who are literally hand-picked to do so by the Emirate’s global recruiters. These recruiters are tasked with painstakingly detailed and explicit hiring criteria. They extensively interview around 200,000 candidates a year from all around the globe, and select a lucky 5,000 to work for and represent their company.
The glamorous job is not easy to acquire, nor is it an easy job to perform. Flight attendants must work very hard, and at least for this airline, they must look great doing so (“unofficially”, they do hire at least somewhat on looks). There is a rigorous training program, the requirement of moving to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (so for almost all of them, leaving their home country and everyone they know and love), and many strict regulations that must be adhered to. In return, the cabin crew is on the adventure of a lifetime, certainly appeal enough for many. But there is more- much, much more. The perks of the Emirates Airlines’ cabin crew is unlike those of any other airline on the planet. Here are 11 of them.
11. Free Housing in Dubai
As we know, it is an absolute requirement that Emirates flight attendants reside in Dubai, in one of the company’s 60 buildings where the crew lives together. They want to foster a sense of community among their employees, which is nice, especially since they have often left their whole lives behind for this opportunity. I imagine it would not get too suffocating either, spread out over so many buildings. The apartments are fully furnished and include gas, water, and electricity. They generally have a roommate but their own private bedroom, and if a person (for example, someone with a family) lives on their own, they are given a housing allowance to help pay for the home they have chosen. All of the company’s residences are new and modern.
10. They Always Look & Feel Gorgeous
Appearance is another requirement, but I also see it as a bonus to the job. When you look better, you also feel better. And Emirates flight attendants are taught a strict beauty regimen that they must adhere to even when not at work. This is because the airline takes great pride in its image, and the flight attendants say that one of the most exciting parts about their training is the moment they receive their uniform. The khaki-colored outfits, head piece, and bright red lipstick have become iconic of the Middle East’s largest airline.
In order for the crew, who are the face of the company, to learn what is expected of them during their 7-week training course at the headquarters in Dubai, they are instructed on everything from how to apply their makeup according to company standards, to the correct skin care products they are “recommended” to use, and the skin care routine they are “recommended” to follow. In flight, they are expected to touch up their makeup, use eye gel, and even wear a Vitamin C mask during bunk rest periods to boost skin cells and retain a glow. It goes without saying that they cannot be overweight, so they also keep in shape.
9. The Local Perks
Emirates Group employees receive a card that entitles them to generous discounts at over 100 dining, retail, hotel, and leisure outlets in Dubai and the rest of the U.A.E. There is also the FACE (Flight Attendant Club of Emirates) card that provides members with free social and sporting events, beach and gym access, and complimentary food and drink at several locations in Dubai. This is good, because one flight attendant said in an interview that all there is to do in Dubai (or on a layover, for that matter) is party!
There are also some “professional allowances” given for the effort of maintaining their role within the company, which I take to mean keeping up appearances: hair, tanning, teeth-whitening, nails- that sort of thing.
8. A Jet-Setting Lifestyle
This one is obvious, but perhaps the best of all! It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate this lifestyle, but for that person, the travel alone is almost pay enough. These global citizens are “on the road” roughly half of each month, and thus have ample opportunity (more opportunity than anyone else in the world, I’d say) to see all four corners of the globe. And they take advantage of that, even after a long-haul flight when they are likely exhausted. But if they are too tired to explore whatever city they land in, they can always go back to the lavish hotel that is paid for by the airline, so a comfy bed and a good night’s sleep are never far away.
An example of one Emirates crew member’s monthly roster I came across is as follows: China, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Switzerland, Austria, Jordan. Wow, all in a month- imagine how many cities you could see in a year! This is actually the upcoming July roster for Emirates flight attendant and blogger, Rachel Warren, who has documented in detail her interview process, training, move to Dubai, and subsequent travels and monthly rosters on her blog, The Dubai Diaries.
7. Friends From All Over the World
Emirates Airlines employs people from 130 countries around the world (there are only approximately 195- the exact number is up for debate because of the status of places like Taiwan) and makes a concerted effort to create a community within Dubai for these employees to meet and socialize with one another. That is very nice as they have all left their home countries and everyone they know and love. The newbies kind of fall into a sort of commonality and thus have support, friends, and people to turn to should they need anything.
It is also awesome because they get to know people from various cultures that they never would have met otherwise. They learn about customs, food, language, and perhaps will even visit a close friend there someday. Friends are important no matter what, but so much more can be learned from people with vastly different backgrounds than oneself.
6. Posh Working Environment
Even though the crew are not the ones enjoying the flight, still they get to work inside a beautiful luxury airliner. And even the secluded part of the plane you never get to see that is designated for crew rest times is posh. They have little nooks with low-lighting, soft bunks, and privacy in which they can get a catnap, as some of their flights can be excruciatingly long (Emirates launched the world’s longest non-stop flight- now a daily occurrence- in March of this year: 8,823 miles, from Dubai to Auckland, which takes 17 hours and 15 minutes). The nooks look super comfy to me! And these bunks are definitely private; as someone who has flown regularly on long-haul trans-Pacific flights for years, I have yet to see a door that leads to one of these uber-secret rooms.
5. Whisked To and From Work in Private Cars
Now, if this doesn’t make them feel glamorous, I don’t know what would! So, all spiffed up and looking gorgeous, the crew are picked up at their door in a private car and driven to work. I’m talking door to door service, here. No worrying about traffic, no road rage, and best of all, it is not your fault if you are late! I am sure there is some kind of carpool, but even so, it is still a perk the likes of the rich and famous receive. And knowing what we do about Emirates Airlines, I think we can assume that they do not half-do anything, and thus their employee transport vehicles likely fall somewhere on the spectrum of opulence as well.
4. It’s Great Birth Control!
Sounds weird, right? Well it may be weird, but it’s true! At least, if they want to keep their jobs it is. In the first three years of employment, the flight attendants must leave if they become pregnant. This is because it costs nearly $27,000 to recruit and train each member of the crew. Also, they have little ground work to offer pregnant women, and they cannot allow them to fly while expecting. Emirates calls their policy “generous”, and it does make sense. After three years, women can take paid maternity leave. But for the newbies, this policy is a great incentive to (A) keep their pants on, or (B) if they just can’t, use protection.
3. A Kick-Ass Training Program
The crews of Emirates Airlines will never have an unprepared day at work, not even on their first day. I am sure they are nervous no matter what, but they are well trained. During the 7-week intensive Aviation College in Dubai, the students learn everything there is to know under the sun about the company: the aircraft, safety procedures, and, yes, they even take uniform and makeup classes. It is a thorough program that requires hard work, encompassing all of the following and more: full motion flight simulator of all aircraft types, first aid, fitness and nutrition, firefighting, delivering babies, grooming, customer service, simulated evacuations into a real pool (fully clothed), duty-free shopping, and cultural fluency. They also serve food, physically restrain, and role play with each other to learn. And all in a building that looks like an airplane!
2. A Flexible Schedule
As in, with thousands of fellow employees living practically at your doorstep, crew members are constantly switching their trips around to accommodate the places they want to go. From what I read of flight attendant interviews, the company seems surprisingly lax on this aspect of work, as long as the job gets done, and gets done right. So not only do these people get to globe trot their little hearts out, but they can be like, “Oh, Paris? I’ve already been there. Care to trade for Hong Kong?” Or something like that. You get the picture. And with that kind of flexibility, the aforementioned 195 countries on this planet will all be checked off the list in no time! You know, except that the swanky Emirates Airlines does not fly to places like Cambodia and Mongolia. But still…
1. The Extras
And finally, a staple in any job, the benefits. They are pretty sweet. Besides the obvious insurance kind of stuff, and the free furnished housing we already talked about, there is more. First, a fixed monthly cash payment. Their base salary is tax-free. They receive a minimum of 30 days paid leave annually, as well as one free ticket a year to their country of origin. They receive (in addition to the FACE card) 50% off local restaurants and health clubs. There are reduced entry fees into thousands of clubs around the world, and of course, that “professional allowance” (for things like hair and nails) I mentioned before. All in all, even though their cash payment is less than what most other airlines offer, Emirates more than makes up for that in other perks, especially to a person who is a born wanderer.
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